Tim Yang’s Weblog


Rockmelt can overcome China censorship

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , — Tim Yang @ 1:07 pm

Like Blackberry, Rockmelt seems to bypass China censorship by behaving like a proxy for its Facebook edges.

Even when I am not on VPN (which is necessary when I want to visit Facebook.com), the edges on Rockmelt constantly update themselves.

So anyone in China can actually update their Facebook status and see the status of their friends as long as they are using Rockmelt.


Getting free access to Intertouch wifi

Filed under: Blogging — Tim Yang @ 5:30 pm

Nearly all the big international hotel chains (like Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, Ritz Carlton, Westin, Holiday Inn, Meridien, Sheraton, Westin and Crowne Plaza) provide wifi to their guests via corporate wifi provider Intertouch.

For the convenience of the guests of their hotel partners, Intertouch uses a simple convention for logins.

Username: Last name of guest

Password: Room number

So if you know someone staying at any of their hotel partners, you might be able to score free wifi access.

Unless they change their login convention, that is.

Look up the list of their hotel partners at http://docomointertouch.com.


Google China Music Search review

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , , , — Tim Yang @ 5:08 pm

Nearly two years ago, Google China started a legal music download site to compete with Baidu’s version. The courts sided with Baidu in the lawsuit by the music industry to stop them. So they made an agreement with Google to give them license to give their users (only in China) free downloads to the latest hits.

I started using it yesterday. They don’t have the absolute latest releases, for instance I couldn’t find Taylor Swift’s “Mine” even though the single was released over two months ago.

But they have a very wide selection. And not just Chinese language hits. I managed to download several pieces from Tiesto and Lady Gaga, after just navigating through a simple CAPTCHA puzzle.

The quality is really good. For Lady Gaga’s “Romance”, the size of the file was over 11MB. There was no audible watermarking and it was a normal mp3, playable even after copying to another PC.

I’m not sure what the revenue stream is, but the users in China are getting a really good deal. And it’s legal with the permission of the record companies too.


Google.com is accessible in China

Filed under: Blogging — Tags: , — Tim Yang @ 3:22 pm

Google China at http://google.cn is still a flat page with a link to http://google.com.hk.

But since I typically use http://google.com, I found that THAT website is accessible. I can do searches using it.

However http://webcache.googleusercontent.com (ie Google cache) is of course not accessible.

It’s a very strange setup. Do China users know that they can use the original Google.com as normal and that the hullabaloo with Google in China was all just public relations?

Update: On Google Chrome, all searches using http://google.com are redirected to http://google.com.hk, but not when using other browsers like Firefox.


Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are not blocked in China… on Blackberry

Filed under: Howto, Social Networking, Travel — Tags: , , , , , — Tim Yang @ 8:25 am

You cannot browse many websites in China because of the infamous firewall. Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are some of those affected. Gmail and Google Reader on the other hand are fine.

But when you use the Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter mobile apps on Blackberry, you can do stuff as normal. It’s not disabled or banned.

I tried this first on my Blackberry in Beijing on data roaming then on the hotel’s wifi. Both times it worked. I could upload photos and update my status on Facebook. I could also check Twitter feeds and check into Foursquare.

I also managed to get access on the Blackberry mobile browser. I was able to visit all banned sites on the browser (via wifi). I tried imdb.com, isohunt.com and youtube.com. All viewable.

It might be a Blackberry thing because when I tried it on the Android web browser (as well as Opera for Android), facebook.com and youtube.com both timed out. Facebook app on Android didn’t work either.

This might also be a new development because I appear to be the first one to notice it (although there have been thousands of Foursquare checkins in Beijing so far).


The day on Foursquare starts at 5am

Filed under: Social Networking — Tags: — Tim Yang @ 8:07 am

For some strange reason, the day on Foursquare starts at 5am. This seems to apply only to Malaysia-based users.

It could be the Foursquare servers for Malaysia are in Ukraine and their clocks are based on the +3GMT timezone.

So I could check in at 4am and it would still be counted as the previous day. But I check in just one hour later at 5am and that would count as a new and separate checkin.

This information could be important to stealing mayorships.


How to cheat at Foursquare to collect badges with badge farms

Filed under: Howto — Tags: , , , , — Tim Yang @ 3:52 pm

Yes, Foursquare is addictive and collecting badges is more addictive. And like all addictive pursuits, there are people like you and me who find shortcuts. Yes, you. You wouldn’t be looking at this post if you weren’t already a cheater or contemplating it.

Badges are collected by checking into enough locations with the relevant tags and the relevant categories.

You can cheat by creating BADGE FARMS.

Badge farms are fictitious venues that you control and add tags and categories to.

1. Create 3 venues near your home or office. Give them plausible but fake names, places that you might actually visit during the course of your day so that your Foursquare friends don’t catch on (unless you’re totally shameless). I find names of cafes work best. You basically only need a few badge farms that you can check into repeatedly.

2. Over the course of 48 hours, check into all three twice to become mayor of them.

3. Visit a Foursquare badge list and make a list of all the tags you need to claim the badges you want. Start adding all those tags to your badge farms.

4. Before you check into them next time, change the category of each farm to the one needed to claim the badge you’re aiming for.

5. Then start checking in, once a day to each of your farms. Over the course of a week, you should have all the badges.

It’s very important that your friends on Foursquare don’t catch on to your cheating. Most people take a very dim view of cheaters.

So here are the 4 rules of Foursquare Cheaters:

  • Don’t check in too many times a day. If you do, check off the box that says “Tell my friends”. If you do that, then your check in won’t “pop-up” on your friends’ cellphones (but will nevertheless appear on their app as “Hiding”). It tends to annoy people when too many pop-ups occur.
  • Don’t get too greedy and go for badges that your friends know you wouldn’t or couldn’t actually collect. For instance, if you’re not a fan of either Lakers or Celtics, don’t go for those badges. I haven’t. And getting BOTH of them is a dead giveaway you’re a cheater.
  • Don’t turn your home or workplace location into a badge farm. Yes, I know it’s very convenient and efficient to collect badges that way. But mayors can’t delete tags yet. And leaving irrelevant tags lying around is a dead giveaway that the venue has been turned into a badge farm. Your colleagues, family and neighbours will come across the evidence sooner or later and probably wouldn’t like that.
  • Dispose of your badge farms when you’re done with them. Move them to a far off location, like in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean or Antarctica. So no one will accidentally come across them. And don’t forget to rename them and resign your mayorship from your user page so no one can trace them back to you. I hide mine somewhere in the Grand Canyon where there’s no internet or cellphone reception.


Get the Groupie badge on Foursquare

Filed under: Online — Tim Yang @ 12:57 pm

This was originally intended for participants for SXSW 2010. You had to collect all 6 namecards of Foursquare employees at the event. Each of the name cards had a unique badge on it.

Then you had to go to http://foursquare.com/bizcard and click on the badges of all six. And you would get the Groupie badge.

Problem is, people found out about it and passed the list around to people who didn’t attend SXSW 2010.

People like me. ROFL.

Here is the list of the six badges you need to click on to get the free Groupie badge.

  • JetSetter
  • Super Mayor
  • Pizzaiolo
  • Local
  • Player Please!
  • Newbie


Download torrents anywhere: Torrific.com bypasses security

Filed under: Online — Tim Yang @ 1:53 pm

Most offices and universities block torrenting into two very effective methods.

First, they employ a packet sniffer to detect when bittorrent packets are being downloaded and block them.

Second, they block all the usual ports that bittorrent clients use.

These methods still allow normal file exchange, as long as torrent files aren’t being delivered and received.

That’s how Torrific.com (used to be called btaccel.com) bypasses the usual security methods.

Torrific employs a web based torrent client. You tell it which torrents to download and Torrific downloads them to their own servers first. Then when the download is completed, you can download it from Torrific as a normal file.

Simple. You can download any kind of file of any size this way… as long your connection doesn’t time out. Which mine unfortunately does often.


Digital agencies in Malaysia need to stop being digital agencies

Filed under: Online — Tim Yang @ 1:26 pm

I work in an advertising agency with a client that demands integration with digital components. But we have digital agencies in this country that work too much in their own little silo.

Yes, they understand how to build websites but they don’t understand how to market them. Nor do they want to. Simply because they’re not designed for marketing.

Digital agencies here prefer to perform all their marketing online. They keep using the same media: blogs, Facebook, emails etc.

This doesn’t work for two reasons.

In many countries (including this one), we don’t have the necessary numbers of web users. Most of them are centred in the cities, yet the vast majority of the market is in rural areas.

Second, of the small size of online users, digital agencies always propose online campaigns that only sophisticated web users will respond to. We don’t have the necessary numbers. And this only targets a certain age group whereas clients need campaigns for larger markets or different markets.

The solution is for digital agencies in this country to first accept that a purely-online campaign is not feasible. All those case study books and websites they get inspiration from are from countries that have the numbers. They have to stop looking at them and believing they can make campaigns as successful as those.

Secondly, digital agencies need to start hiring expertise with experience in broader campaigns. People who have experience in creating supporting sales and marketing materials like brochures, leaflets, billboards, posters, and of course guerilla media. All the items needed to propagate a URL.

Digital agencies need to stop and ask themselves: “You’ve built a really nice website. But how the heck are people going to know about it?”

Digital agencies need to stop thinking that marketing a website is TCP (The Client’s Problem) and take some responsibility for it.

Digital agencies need to stop being purely digital agencies. And start being a bit more like communication agencies.

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